Public Involvement in Public Administration in the Information Age: Speculations on the Effects of Technology

Public Involvement in Public Administration in the Information Age: Speculations on the Effects of Technology

John Clayton Thomas (Georgia State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-130-8.ch004
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Abstract

Public managers in Western democracies have felt growing pressures in recent decades to involve citizens more in the work of public administration, perhaps transforming what was once viewed as a largely solitary technical enterprise into a community production. On the heels of this “participation revolution” has come the “information revolution,” wherein a variety of new information and telecommunications technologies, including computers and modem linkages, Internet connections, electronic mail, and fax transmissions, is transforming society, economy and government. Although there has been much discussion of the likely effects of each of these revolutions, relatively little attention has been paid until recently to the interaction of the two revolutions, especially to how the information revolution may impact public involvement. The purpose of this chapter is to speculate on that impact. After first explaining the specifics of the two revolutions, the chapter will speculate on the possible effects of technology on public involvement in public administration, both for public involvement in general and for various specific techniques of involvement. A concluding section will consider the chapter’s action implications for scholars, policymakers and public administrators.

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